Adventures in Matroksa

I've recently re-encoded a whole load of MPEG2 video I've got into MPEG4 (using H.264). I thought that I'd put it all in MKV containers. Sadly, this turns out not to be the case: HandBrake's presets explicitly set the output container — mostly to MP4. So I'm now left with a large number of videos in a format that I didn't intend. What's worse, I can't easily flip forward and back in the files I do have, using either my Popcorn Hour or any of the video players I have on my Linux desktop. Here's what I did to fix this sorry state of affairs.

Why I love NFS

I export a bunch of directories over NFS. One of those is the filesystem I record TV onto. At the moment, the recording machine is working on two separate channels, all streaming to the NFS filesystem.

My server just crashed. I rebooted it.

The recording machine is still quite happily going. I don't know if there's any lost data, but I doubt it. More news after those files get processed tonight...

Making quilt and subversion work together

At work, I've recently taken up managing the codebase of GridSAM. Part of this involved arranging and moving a whole load of patches from one svn repository (maintained internally) to another (the SourceForge site). Subversion on its own isn't all that good at this, so I started using quilt to manage the patches. The workflow goes something like this:

Hooray for XRandR

For years, it's been a major failing of Linux (and X11 in general) that it's not been possible just to plug in a new monitor and be able to extend your desktop on the fly. This is just about OK for desktop machines, which don't tend to change their configuration very often. It really, really sucks for laptops, though. It's really quite painful (and potentially quite embarrassing) to have to kill X and restart it before you can plug your laptop into a data projector at a conference.

But... X now has a thing called XRandR, that allows you to reconfigure your X display on the fly without restarting anything. I've got a couple of talks coming up shortly, so I thought I'd have a play.